Neu Perspectives

Horse Names


Paint? Trigger? Houdini? The names we give our horses says a lot about them, and us.


One of the most entertaining elements of meeting horsemen and their animals is hearing what names they have picked for their equine partners.

There are a lot of paths to take when naming a horse. And let’s be honest—it’s an important decision. A name can tell a lot, both on a creative and descriptive level. We have to own up to what we call them, and for me, it is not a choice to be taken lightly or simply left to chance.

There’s the timeless, classic route—think “Trigger” for a Palomino or “Lightning” for something quick footed. Many horses inherit their name based on their colors or markings. How many Ol’ Paints are there in the world? Roanies? I believe I’ve had at least a dozen Grey Mares pass through my barn throughout the years. Brownie, Blackie, Star, Socks, Blue and Yellow. Simple, straight to the point and hard to confuse the hired help when you tell them who to catch in the field.

Of course, there are also those horses that name themselves. I’ve met many a Lucky that comes with a good story (and often the scars to go with it!). I’ve known of Jugheads, Sassys, Foxys and Houdinis. Those of you with a “Shorty” probably have an easy time getting on and off your pony. If you buy a “Porky,” make sure you’re budgeted for plenty of hay.  And always beware of the “Bucky” who bears no resemblance to anything of the buckskin kind.

Some riders prefer to name their horse as a nod to the person—or place—they get it from. For example, a horse from Texas might be deemed Tex, or Austin, or Dallas. I’ve known Alvins, Julios, Bennys, Merediths and Codys. Song references can also provide good material, but remember that each time you saddle Black Betty, you’ll probably be humming the Ram Jam tune all day.

Often, horses already come with a name, and many are prone to thinking that changing the given name is bad luck. (I, for one, don’t really feel that way and generally change names if they don’t suit my program. It always seemed to work out fine. But, now that I think about it, had I kept the original names, perhaps I would have had even more good fortune…?)

There are famous names and odd names. Sometimes they are very clever, and sometimes they are borderline inappropriate. It’s great to meet horses who have names that match their personality, and often they become more well-known because of what we call them.

When it comes down to it, I vote that you name your horses something that makes you the happiest. Something that conjures up good feelings and happy times.

I’d love to elaborate on the topic more, but this will have to do for now. Time’s getting short and I still need to take a trot on Cerveza, Bacon and Sunday.

1 thought on “Horse Names”

  1. I named my Black Stallion Smokie, cause my Granddaughter was with me that date and she saw him and saw look Pawpaw he looks like a puff of smoke, I said a puff of smoke she said yes that would be a good name smokie, So that what his name was I keep him 8 years and when I got married to my wife I sold all my horses, cause I was getting up in age but I still remember him he was smart, He was a mustang colt, I had adopted his Dad who came from Duck Water Indian Rev, I bred him with a Beautiful mare that was a friend of mine horse who as a golden color but not a Palomino, 11 months later out come smokie.


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